XML-based tactical chat (XTC): requirements, capabilities and preliminary progress

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Brutzman, Don
McGregor, Don
DeVos, Daniel A.
Lee, Chin Siong
Amsden, Saundra
Blais, Curtis
Davis, Duane
Filiagos, Dimitrios
Hittner, Brian
Date of Issue
Naval Postgraduate School (U.S.)
The motivation for pursuing XML-based tactical chat includes the great potential of this technology and fixing limitations of current chat programs. XTC capabilities have the potential to completely upgrade and restructure all tactical military communications. The current tools for military chat include VRC, Yahoo, MSN, AIM, ICQ, and NKO. None of these provides the full functionality or interoperability needed in a joint environment. Moreover, if a nonproprietary chat protocol is developed, it can lead to a decision-support environment in which data, text, audio, and video can be logged, evaluated and managed, all in a Web environment where no additional specialized software or hardware is needed. Chat technology challenges for the military fit into three areas: tactical, technical and administrative. Tactically, there are many ways chat can be used, but effective practices are not yet defined in procedures or doctrine. Joint forces use a myriad of chat programs that don't interoperate and are usually proprietary. Technically many chat programs are barred by firewalls and lack a robust interface to allow logging and searching past chats, From an administrative prospective, plain-test chat has no structure. Scheduling and controlling who attends or converses remains undefined. Within DoD there is no standard for how, when, and by whom chats ought to be conducted. Possible approaches to these problems include adopting a proprietary chat system or customizing an open-source implementation. Proprietary solutions are costly, do not interoperate well, and are too inflexible for a technology that is evolving rapidly. Open-source software can provide a solution that is adaptable, extensible, quick to implement, straightforward to maintain, and relatively inexpensive. This report provides a preliminary assessment of XML-based tactical chat (XTC) using an open-source, open-standards solution. Promising initial results demonstrate that an XML document can be sent from an XHTML page in a Web browser to an off-the-shelf Jabber client via a Web serve. Further, available server and client implementation can enable a research and development plan for rapid development. further work on XTC as part of the Extensible Modeling and Simulation Framework (XNSF) is justified and needed.
Technical Report
Series/Report No
MOVES Institute
NPS Report Number
Distribution Statement
Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.